Cumberland County Playhouse and Scopes Trial Festival Team for FRONT PAGE NEWS, 7/18-20
In July 2014, Crossville's Cumberland County Playhouse and Dayton's Scopes Trial Festival will produce FRONT PAGE NEWS: Dayton and the World Famous Scopes Trial - a newly adapted play with music - in the historic Rhea County courtroom where William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow clashed over whether Tennessee schools would teach evolution or Biblical creation during Dayton's 1925 "Monkey Trial."
The Playhouse is co-producing this historically accurate account in the same year as its revival of Inherit The Wind, the controversial fictional drama inspired by those events. Grammy-nominated Nashville songwriter/actor Bobby Taylor will team with Playhouse Producing Director Jim Crabtree to adapt the 2013 Festival play by Deborah DeGeorge Harbin of Elizabethton, TN. Taylor, whose Billboard hits have been recorded by Montgomery Gentry, The Oak Ridge Boys, Allison Krause and Don Williams, will also play "The Storyteller" in Front Page News, weaving original, traditional and sacred music throughout the story.
"Front Page News will bring the power of Southern gospel and Tennessee music, and the faith and spirit of rural America to this true account of the Scopes Trial, which is the flagship event of our Festival," said Scopes Festival Chairman Tom Davis, who joined MainStreet Dayton Director Anna Tromanhauser to announce the partnership.
Rhea County Exec George Thacker added, "We're proud of our Rhea County Courthouse and its place in Tennessee and U.S history. This partnership will bring a key part of our history to life in an exciting, professional production." State Senator Ken Yager also praised the collaboration, saying, "It's exciting to see the Cumberland County Playhouse, a premier performing arts organization, join forces with MainStreet Dayton to continue to tell [this] story... the arts, history and culture are alive and well in rural Tennessee."
State Representative Ron Travis concurred, saying "I know with the Scopes Festival and the Playhouse joining efforts, the historical significance of the Scopes Trial will be preserved... This is a great opportunity and is a win-win for everyone!"
CCP's Crabtree added, "The Festival preserves the history and honors the ideas surrounding the Scopes trial. We're honored to help give this important story a new life, with a true Tennessee perspective on the clash of science and religion fictionalized in Inherit the Wind. Many voices have told the story; we add the authentic voice of rural Tennessee as we celebrate this momentous encounter of faith, science, freedom and law. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with the Festival and the historic city of Dayton... especially next year, as the Playhouse marks its 50th birthday in 2015, and Dayton's 27th Scopes Festival observes the trial's 90th anniversary."
Heritage and theater have partnered at CCP since 1965, when Jim's dad, Broadway and Hollywood veteran Paul Crabtree, opened the Playhouse with his musical Tennessee, USA! Since 1984, original Playhouse works by Crabtree and Taylor, Pulaski's Dr. Dennis Davenport, Chattanooga's Hollywood composer George S. Clinton, and Chattanooga State educator Sherry Knowles have chronicled the Cumberland Homesteads, The Smoky Mountains, and Historic Rugby, along with the works of Signal Mountain author Emma Bell Miles and master folklorist Charles Wolfe. Jim Crabtree will continue the tradition of bringing Tennessee history to life when he directs the upcoming Inherit the Wind (Oct. 10 - Nov. 14), with scenery by television Art Director Leonard Harman (Leverage, Dollhouse, Angel).
Auditions in Dayton for Front Page News will be begin May 13 and 15. For details, visit www.ccplayhouse.com or call Mandy Dearman at (931) 484-4324. Tickets will go on sale May 12 at the Playhouse, (931) 484-5000, online at www.ccplayhouse.com, and at the courtroom door on show dates. Performances begin the weekend of July 18-20, and will continue other weekends as demand warrants.
Coming soon to Dayton is its Tennessee Strawberry Festival, May 8 - 10. Running at CCP are THE FOREIGNER (through May 16), THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (through May 22), ANNIE GET YOUR GUN starring Tennessee's Miss America Kellye Cash (through July 11), the hit Broadway family show for all ages, SHREK the Musical (June 13 - August 31) and SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN (May 30 - August 8).
Caption: Cumberland County Playhouse and the Scopes Trial Festival will co-produce "Front Page News," a newly adapted "play with music" in the historic Dayton Courthouse July 18 - 20, 2014.